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Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

Learn how to create curved shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows. You can create a curved shape by dragging just one or two points.


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Product/Version: PowerPoint 2010 for Windows

OS: Microsoft Windows XP and higher






PowerPoint provides an extensive array of built-in shapes which help you create great looking graphics for your slides. You can manipulate these graphics by dragging their diamonds or combining them. But at times, you may not achieve the exact appearance you want. For instance, you might want a little curve in your shape edges rather than conventional straight lines. PowerPoint does allow you to tweak and make your shape look more organic than geometric curved lines:

  1. Within PowerPoint 2010 for Windows, open any existing presentation (or create a new one). Then add a new slide and select the slide and change its layout to Blank.
  2. Now select the View tab of the Ribbon and within the Show group, select the Gridlines check-box, as shown highlighted in red in Figure 1. Gridlines can help you to have more control over the curves that you will create.
  3. Gridlines check-box within View tab
    Figure 1: Gridlines check-box within View tab
  4. Select the existing shape. If you want to insert a new shape, access the Insert tab (or the Home tab) of the Ribbon and click the Shapes button to bring up the Shapes gallery - within this gallery select the required shape. As you can see in Figure 2, for this tutorial, we have selected a Rectangle.
  5. Select Rectangle
    Figure 2: Select Rectangle
  6. Now click and drag on the slide to create an instance of the selected shape within a section of the gridlines, as shown in Figure 3. Learn how to insert shapes in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows.
  7. Rectangle inserted on the slide
    Figure 3: Rectangle inserted on the slide
  8. Make sure that the Rectangle (the shape you created) is selected. The Ribbon area now shows the Drawing Tools Format tab. Activate this Ribbon tab by clicking on it. Within the Insert Shapes group, click the Edit Shape button, and from the resultant drop-down list, select the Edit Points option, as shown in Figure 4.
  9. Edit Points option
    Figure 4: Edit Points option
  10. This makes four small black squared points (vertexes) appear on the outline of the Rectangle, as shown in Figure 5. The number of vertexes that appear may be different depending on the shape you have selected. These vertexes mark any point on your shape's outline that denotes an extremity of a curve or a line segment, or even the start and end point of an open shape.
  11. Vertexes appears on the Rectangle
    Figure 5: Vertexes appears on the Rectangle
  12. Locate the line segment which you want to change into a curve, and click on any one of its corner vertexes to show one or two blue handles (lines emanating from the vertex). In Figure 6 you can see that the left bottom vertex has been selected. These handles alter the degree of the curve or line on either side of the vertex in relation to the next vertex along the line.
  13. Handles of selected vertex
    Figure 6: Handles of selected vertex
  14. Click the white square on the handle placed on the line to select it, and move this handle towards the shape, or outwards as required. In Figure 7 you can see that it is being dragged towards the shape.
  15. Handle is moved up
    Figure 7: Handle is moved up
  16. Now select the vertex on the other corner of the line to access the same kind of blue handles. Click the handle (white square) on the line to select it and drag it as required. In Figure 8 you can see that the handle is being dragged outwards of the shape.
  17. Handle is moved down
    Figure 8: Handle is moved down
  18. This converts the straight line of your Rectangle (or any other shape) to a curved line. (see Figure 9). Your shape is no longer a rectangle.
  19. Straight line converted to curved line
    Figure 9: Straight line converted to curved line
  20. With your shape suitably curved, you can now change its appearance further by resizing or rotating. You can also change the shape's fill and line attributes, and also apply an effect.

See Also:

Drawing Common Shapes: Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint (Index Page)

Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Creating Curved Shapes in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac

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